Note on Facebook (to myself) ... .
Today I've taken a work day at home to prepare a speech. That in itself is a contradiction in terms since I'm not accustomed to working from a written script-- ever. In my work I simply depend upon memory to rise up and take over -- and that rarely fails. However, on March 5th I've been invited to give an address in the Craneway Pavilion as a part of the Naturalization Day ceremony welcoming 75 new citizens plus friends and family into our democracy; a tall order for a woman of color since my view of our political system has been inconsistent and greatly tainted by both real and imagined injustices throughout life. I've carried many a picket sign and marched in countless demonstrations over time -- and mounted many a challenge to the status quo. From the outset it was clear that this one I couldn't just do "off the cuff," but needed to meticulously plan -- word for word. It's far too important, and deserves the time it may take to fully think, and maybe meditate my way through the issues, and to honor the challenge this assignment demands.
My responsibility is that of an American, and my words must come from a place inside that cannot be limited by my skin color, outside. Yet, it is the "Betty of Color" whose life has been shaped by that external image imposed by an insensitive and unfair political system that I'm now wanting to rise above for this one occasion, and to do so without compromising my principles; a tall order. Maybe my position with the National Park Service has vaulted me high enough to allow me to stand above the fray at least long enough to share the earnest patriotic feelings I do truly experience of late after a lifetime of uncertainty and ill-ease -- and to be sincere in welcoming new citizens into the grand experiment we call Democracy in the hope that they will join the rest of us in " ... forming a more perfect Union." Amen.
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